The Neighborhood Is the Unit of Change

In The Neighborhood Is the Unit of Change David Brooks writes, “If you’re trying to improve lives, maybe you have to think about changing many elements of a single neighborhood, in a systematic way, at a steady pace.”

Purpose Built Communities is helping dozens of neighborhoods do exactly that: build community consensus on a plan to transform schools, housing and other neighborhood assets to turn distressed neighborhoods into healthy ones.

We estimate that a one-time investment of $200 billion could similarly revitalize the 825 neighborhoods of concentrated urban poverty in America.  Our nation spends $1 trillion every year on poverty relief, yet if we dedicated just a fraction of those dollars – exactly one time – we could largely eliminate the need for that $1 trillion in spending. By the way, $200 billion is 5 percent of one federal budget. This is not a money issue, it is a leadership issue.

Can we end intergenerational urban poverty? Absolutely. And the neighborhood is the unit of change.